Wednesday, November 29, 2017

The Nascent Rio Grande Trail Project

In an effort to design and build-out a statewide recreation trail with the vision and function of similar trails in neighboring states - i.e. The Colorado Trail, The Arizona Trail, Continental Divide Trail - state lawmakers established a Rio Grande Trail commission during the 2015 legislative session. The broad outline here would be for a multi-purpose rec trail running north-south along the Rio from Colorado to Texas.

There's a lot of private holdings in this alignment as well as significant Pueblo land throughout the valley so the expectation I'm guessing is that this will be a decades long effort which will likely have several gaps among long sections of contiguous trail over public land. This would still be a very favorable outcome compared with current status. The project also adjoins state and county resources to the small volunteer groups that build trail (generally mtb riders and hikers).

Currently there's a block of federal funding directed toward gathering public opinion, rec-user preferences, and other ideas for how people envision use of such a trail system as well as stuff that would add or detract from the trail experience. A very cool website has been setup for this purpose, a Virtual Open House, where you can read more about the RGT big picture and contribute your own ideas and opinion toward what this thing ought to look like. The ending date is December 11th.

Go there and add your voice to this beauty of a project.
Rio Grande Trail - Virtual Open House (until Dec 11, 2017)

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Monday, November 20, 2017

UNM Lobos Top the NCAA XC Podium for a 2nd Time

Lobos champion 7; Prouse, Kurgat, Kelati, Buck, Casey,
Negròn Texidor, Wright
The UNM Women rolled to both the National NCAA XC team and individual titles this past weekend. Ednah Kurgat claimed the individual crown, All-American honors to the team's first four runners. The team title is the Lobo's 2nd in 3 years, and 3rd podium finish in the last 4 years, and collectively totals 8 top-ten finishes over the last 10 years.

The team was ranked 2nd going into championship weekend behind Colorado. The title hinged on the effort of their fifth scoring runner, Alondra Negròn Texidor, who crossed the line in 85th place securing the winning margin.

UNM Women's Cross Country Wins 2017 NCAA Title

1. UNM Lobos (ranked 2nd nationally): 90 points
2. San Francisco (ranked 3rd nationally): 105 pts
3. Colorado Buffs (top ranked): 139 pts

Related Posts:
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Friday, November 10, 2017

Trail Access Finally Comes to Glorieta

Long talked about and now finally in motion, the Glorieta Camps trails (formerly the Baptist Conference Center) will soon be available to public access via a newly constructed trail routing around the Campus to the southeast.

Working in tandem with Glorieta Camps, Santa Fe County, and IMBA, the Santa Fe Fat Tire Society has the lead on this project and is asking for trail work volunteers as well as contributions to fund the work, setting a goal of $2,500 (nearly half funded as of Nov 10). - Contribute Here -

Continuing work on the access trail is scheduled for this Sun Nov 12, 9am SHARP at the Glorieta Camps main gate.
..."We'll be working on building more of the Glorieta Access trail. We got over 1/2 of the initial section built 2 weeks ago and will be working on the rest. We'll work until around noon, have some lunch, and then ride the great trails at GC. Another sunny day, with a high forecast for mid-50's. SFFTS will provide all the tools needed for the trail work."

A map of the Glorieta system via Strava heatmap. Glorieta Camps at the center there with various trails branching out and up. The orange route tracing a north-south boundary to the east is the road up to the fire lookout and to access the descents.

UPDATE: The funding for this trail project came through in a big way: $3,045 in total which exceeds the goal amount by +25% and was the top funded project of the 68 proposed projects of this year's IMBA Dig In campaign. Very well done to the good folks at SFFTSociety.

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Thursday, October 26, 2017

Building a Business

It's been quite a long year. I look up...and it's October. In fairness this is likely the best month to stir from one's desk and find waiting there outside the nearby window panes.

So what the hell have I been up to? I spent my year planning for and setting up a stand-alone CPA practice. As of mid-August I had officially opened my doors for business, offices downtown, trying to make everything function properly and perform a dozen different tasks each day including retaining critical clients and proposing for and on-boarding equally critical clients. All of this required working every weekend since January and beginning most of my days at an embarrassingly early hour that at first was justified as a necessity to get me caught up on the present week, but which strung out endlessly over most of the last nine months. On Monday I completed my last major project and sat down to rest.

I'm very fortunate to have an understanding wife who encouraged me along the way. Always my strongest supporter. Her professional achievements provided equal cover for me to take this risk. I'm similarly blessed with an often alarming reserve of stamina and endurance to grind through setbacks and challenges and near-nervous breakdowns. I needed all of it, the tanks were emptied. My plan today is to leave the office early, not just before 630pm but before 300pm(!!). I'll lace up my shoes and go for a run in the intoxicating light and stern autumn breezes of an October afternoon, lose myself in aimless thought and the rewards of honest efforts.

Tuesday, February 28, 2017

Overnight in Canyon Country Without a Tent

Rain clouds above Grand Junction 
I'm going to tell an old story of mine that comes to mind in random ways from time to time. The story is of a camping trip out near Grand Junction, CO, over a decade ago. I'd flown out from Pittsburgh where the wife and I were in full degree-pursuit mode, to join a few rowdy old friends in a float down the Westwater portion of the Colorado river.

I remember being unusually excited to be back in Colorado and drank waaaay too much on our three days on the river. Or maybe only just enough depending on one's perspective. One guy had converted the handle and motor of a chainsaw so as to attach a blender for margaritas. There was much fun had with this. On day two we spotted a dead calf floating in the water which set off a mad paddle-race between the two boats, a roaring frenzy of booze fueled mayhem to claim first rights to the floater. One oarsman was gamely trying to lasso the soggy fatality with a tie-rope. Somebody won and afterward we floated along cheering and taking grizzly photos of ourselves with the bloated little guy, his sad cow tongue lolling out of his mouth in all of them. Smelled like rotting death.

All told an out-sized level of fun was had as is the nature of most river trips, though pointedly none of these bright episodes carried the memory that remained over the years. After our days on the river I had the boys drop me off in the Junction where I'd planned to rent a bicycle and trek out into the trails outside of town for two days of solo camping. Figured I could find a way to the airport to catch my flight back east a few days later though that is its own fraught story of adventure that Colin loved to hear re-told in subsequent years.

Bike camping went well. Found the trailhead, found a campsite, stashed my gear, then got right down to the basics of riding and exploring for the better part of two days, stopping occasionally to read in the shade of a rock and sip on cold beers from my bottomless pack. The holy trinity.

My campsite was set away from the trails. I didn't want anyone to come along and decide to take my stuff while i was off exploring, particularly since everything I had with me was needed. No spare items were packed not even a tent since we shared one along the river. For this reason I also chose my campsite because there was a sliver of a rock shelter there in the form of a very tight space under a ledge. This was not an alcove or a cave but a patio sized capstone of desert rock with most of the underlying layer of sediment eroded away. The plan wasn't to actually sleep in there, only that it was insurance and peace of mind if weather were to blow in. On the second night weather did blow in.

Clouds arrived, then the the wind, then the evening darkness, and finally intermittent rain showers. Time to wedge myself into the claustrophobic peace-of-mind shelter. I found that I could lie in there with space between my body and the rock above but I couldn't roll over. It was not comfortable but it was dry. Entombed. The wind was howling and some of the more ferocious gusts would sometimes startle me awake. To my right there was a small gap in the rock that allowed a portrait view out to the shadows of trees and rock and occasional starlight above, and I stared out and thought of things and let my mind wander freely as I'd done for several days. And then I casually observed that with large wind bursts the capstone above would sway and teeter in a slow and incredulous fashion.

Initially this didn't fuel much alarm. I'd been on a couple dozen desert trips in my life, this one alone was on day five. Rocks don't just fall over out in the canyons and this one wasn't going to either. This rock in particular was keeping me dry. But nothing about this was normal and as I drifted in and out of sleep my wandering thoughts contorted and grew dark with the many unhappy things that could happen if the stone were to give way. Nobody on the planet knew where to find me. Unlikely anyone that happened along the trail would hear me and I'd only seen a handful of people in two days time anyhow. Maybe I could dig out, how long would that take? What if my arm was pinned? Before long I'd fallen deeply asleep until at some point I'd grown uncomfortable and rolled over. I woke with my shoulder wedged against the rock, remembered where I was and why I was there, and was very suddenly chilled by the horror of it all.

'jesus... don't touch the f'n slab for chrissake. Be calm, everything is just fine, go back to sleep, seriously though don't touch the rock in any unnecessary way'.

Later it happens again. It takes far longer this time to walk back the panic. The wind is really thrashing the trees and whipping sand at this point and I'm not getting much rest. I am disturbed. I'm having trouble reasoning with myself because my thinking is trending toward the irrational. Paranoia rises and falls in racing thought. I manage sleep once more, then toss and hit the stone with my shoulder for a third time - all remaining self-control comes undone. I go mad. Scrambling from the space and crying out in blind terror I'm certain that I've tempted fate a minute too long and will be crushed in this final moment of delayed hubris.

Breathing. Darkness. Wind.

Nothing happens. Nothing will happen. Nothing has changed in the camp in two days time and it's entirely likely that nothing had changed in this small area in the last several centuries. In the brief span of 2-3 otherwise ordinary and unremarkable hours, nothingness somehow begets madness.

From thirty feet away I sat with my back against a large block of crimson rock and stared at the shadows and trees and the rock shelter. Calm now but making an effort to breath evenly, collecting my nerves. Sleeping-bag pulled up to my chest. Eyes blink with fatigue, staring. Wind driven raindrops rap and drum, slowly dampening both hair and shoulder. I try to talk myself into settling back into the shelter, out from the rain.

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